U.S.D.A. earmarks $47 million for water conservation, drought response

by Henry Sosland
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Water conservation
The U.S.D.A. and the Department of Interior plan to invest more than $47 million toward the conservation of water.

BRIGHTON, COLO.  — The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior said they will invest more than $47 million toward the conservation of water. The U.S.D.A. is working with the Bureau of Reclamation to help fund projects to better conserve water and respond to ongoing and potential drought across the western portion of the United States.

As part of the effort, the U.S.D.A. said it will provide $15 million in funds to be used toward supporting an on-farm water delivery system, while the Bureau of Reclamation’s $32.6 million in funds will finance 76 local projects in association with the D.O.I.’s WaterSMART program.

Secretary Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture 

By working with communities and producers to more wisely manage the water they have, we help ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, agriculture, economic activities, recreation, and ecosystem health,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Estevan Lopez, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation
Estevan Lopez, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation

Estevan Lopez, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, added, “Water and energy efficiency are intricately linked. When we conserve water, we also conserve the energy it takes to move it. One way we can achieve these efficiencies is to bring federal resources to the table for local projects that focus on saving water. This program represents one more way we're focusing resources on projects to provide resiliency in the face of drought.”

Project funding will be provided by the D.O.I.’s grant program, which is part of the WaterSMART initiative. The Bureau of Reclamation is responsible for integrating irrigation systems in 10 million acres of farm land across 17 states. The Bureau is also responsible for selecting which projects are to receive a grant.

Of the 76 new projects announced, the U.S.D.A. said 53 projects in 11 states will receive a total of $25.6 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants. The remaining 23 grants will be used as part of WaterSmart’s Drought Response Program. 
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By Tracy Ratliff 6/29/2016 9:58:00 AM
I believe that these efforts addressed in this article are very important. I work in the area of conservation. However, I would love to see all the "grant" $$$$ available right now to places like Flint Michigan that need water repairs that are life threatening. Just a thought.